When That Someone Is Me

When That Someone Is Me

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Ephesians 5:29-30 “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

I am kicking and screaming against posting this.

I have some nice posts, some thoughtful posts, to share with you. And I will. But ever since Cherie’s post a month ago about her father, I’ve been led to present this picture from the other side. I don’t do this easily, nor as a grand-stand play. In fact, my friends who read this are going to look at me funny for the next couple of years—until I move, anyway. Don’t worry, it’s not a cry for help. It’s a confession I’ve never shared with anyone. I write these words because I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way. I’m here to say it’s not always all right, but sometimes it is, and we grab those moments and cherish them.

It might have been in college when I read the above passage and knew without a doubt that Paul had it so wrong. There are plenty of people who hate themselves—or to be biblically correct, do not choose themselves. I’m not talking about hating your nose or height or eye color or size, the stupid choices, the sin we love. There are some of us who cannot do anything right, who are never quite good enough no matter how hard we try, who are the first ones accused when something goes wrong. It hurts to be thought of that way, to not even get a chance to defend ourselves. You know what I mean—those of you who are like me. When someone gives you an opportunity, you blow it. You get nervous and awkward and say something so ridiculous you offend everyone in earshot, and everyone they tell. People betray your trust, or worse, they ignore you. You make a mistake and you’re never, ever forgiven. There’s little respect from those closest to you. You lie, hoping, just hoping they’ll think you’re better than you are. You’re the last one to get picked, the first one to offer but never get accepted. You apologize for breathing. You are worthless.

There have been times when I knew that the only ones who would miss me were the ones who felt guilty. Some would miss me only because I was an easy target. I’ve never made a difference, only a difficulty. Some of you will disagree because you’ve seen that tiny part of me that I’ve given you. But you weren’t there when I’ve done things I’ll confess only to God. And you can’t sit on my shoulder and stop me every time I open my mouth, or type some words, from saying or writing something that will be hurtful – even though I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing wrong. I believe I’m saying something I think will help or encourage. But I can’t often get it right and it hurts so much when my words or tone is taken a way I never meant. The worst part is thinking…wow, that’s the state of my heart? Really?

Those of us who won’t be terribly missed are a little bit perfectionist; we keep on trying to be better. When the reality sets in, that we’ll never be that good, it doesn’t occur to us that if we choose to leave, there’d be someone left behind someone who even thought about us for a moment. It’s supposed to be selfish, you see, when really, we think we’re helping. But we can’t even get that right.

So I picked one of the very worst careers—that of being vulnerable, of sharing my stories with others, asking you to spend money on tripe. I’ve always understood that not everyone would like my work. I’m okay with that. It’s not great work, although I’d like it to be. I can be critiqued and critique others without getting out a razor blade. I write about people who are terribly wounded, some of whom want to die, and sometimes they try to die. But they’re rescued. No, again, this message isn’t a personal cry for help.

It’s not true that since Christians are forgiven so we should always be happy. Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble. That’s a promise. It’s how we get up again after that trouble that defines us. some of us can leap to our feet and put up our dukes, and some of us can’t. I wonder if maybe that makes it easier for me to be able to consider meeting God on my own terms. It’s not an excuse, though the shame of it is one thing keeping me here.

The other part keeping me here—today—is the second half of the sentence that Paul writes: “because we are members of his body.” I am part of something else. I am sgod-is-goodealed, and although I am sometimes so stupid I sweat blood and self-medicate, I know that what I belong to—Who I belong to—is worth waiting for. We are rescued every minute of every day. I am not my own; I was bought with a price. That doesn’t always make me feel better, but I claim it. Today. I can’t promise that for every other day, but today it’s true. Today I am new.

When someone you love is so broken, it’s a personal issue. A broken-inside issue that no one else can fix. It’s not a matter for blame, or guilt for either you who wants to fix it, or me who wants to be fixed. It’s agony. I know there are a lot of you out there out there like me. I don’t have the answers, but I have two ears to listen with, and a heart that will bleed for you, and eyes that will cry with you. I can’t fix it, but I can tell you it’s not a sin to feel this way.

Lisa Lickel About Lisa Lickel

Lisa Lickel enjoys the Wisconsin good life, where she ponders and writes. The author of inspirational novels, she is also the editor of Creative Wisconsin Magazine for the Wisconsin Writers Association.

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